Distinguished Divers Make Their Marks

28

Author: Larissa Saco

Jessica Robson

Jessica Robson (first-year) qualified for nationals at the Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Diving Preliminaries hosted by Pomona-Pitzer the weekend of Feb. 12-13.

Robson earned qualifying scores in both the one meter and three meter categories. In the one meter category, she earned a score of 415.70 and placed second behind fellow teammate Sarah Sharpe (senior) at the preliminaries. In the three meter, she earned a score of 410.15 and placed first. In order to qualify for nationals, a female athlete must earn at least a 395 in the one meter category and a 410 in the three meter category.

Robson started diving in the fourth grade for club teams, and has therefore been diving for more than half her life. “I saw a diving show at Six Flags, and I was like, that looks cool,” Robson said. She eventually participated in the Junior Olympics and dove for her varsity high school team.

Robson is thankful for her four supportive teammates. “We all came back early from winter break and hung out after practice. We’re pretty much BFFs,” Robson said. Before seasonal meets, the girls did dry land conditioning in the early mornings. “Waking up at 6:30 a.m. and training with weights was so hard,” Robson said. During the season they have been traveling to the Rose Bowl every evening to practice.

In order to attend nationals, Robson must submit a videotape of her diving to a panel of judges. Then the videotape will be judged along with other tapes sent in by other qualifying athletes. Twenty-two divers will be chosen from both the one and three meter categories to attend the NCAA Championships on Mar. 23-26 in Tennessee.

Robson’s current goals are to attend nationals and keep earning high scores, particularly at the SCIAC Championships, which began on Sunday, Feb. 20 and continued until Tuesday, Feb. 22.

In addition to diving, Robson is focusing on her schoolwork as a potential math major and exploring Greek life, as she just joined Occidental’s Kappa Alpha Theta chapter.

Marisa Pulcrano

Marisa Pulcrano (senior) qualified for nationals at the Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Diving Preliminaries  hosted by Pomona-Pitzer the weekend of February 12-13.

Pulcrano earned a qualifying score in the one meter category. She placed third at the preliminaries behind fellow teammates Sarah Sharpe (senior) and Jessica Robson (first-year) with a score of 405.60, surpassing the minimum national qualifying score of 395. She beat her last year’s preliminaries score of 339.50. Her score also qualified her for the SCIAC championships on Feb. 20-22.

Before diving at Occidental, Pulcrano had done gymnastics for 10 years. During first-year O-week, her advisor at the time, Chris Craney, suggested that she look into diving. “I went to one practice and have been going back every day since,” Pulcrano said.

The excitement and learning aspect of the sport keeps her coming back to the diving world. “The best part of diving is the never-ending thrill of learning new dives,” Pulcrano said. Although diving can be a challenge at times when mental blocks arise, diving provides Pulcrano with a rewarding feeling after excelling at intense meets. “Diving is both a rush of adrenaline as well as very mentally demanding,” she said.

As a senior, she is thrilled to have fulfilled one of her long-term goals of qualifying for nationals. In addition, she wants to continue working on her skill set until the end of the season. “I had a wish list of dives I wanted to compete [in],” Pulcrano said.

The biology major wishes to take a year off before attending medical school. She plans on continuing to dive as a hobby. “If med school has a dive team, I’ll try and dive with them just for fun,” Pulcrano said.

Rachel Price

Rachel Price (first-year) earned a trip to the SCIAC Championship meet in Long Beach at the Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Diving Preliminaries hosted by Pomona-Pitzer the weekend of Feb. 12-13.

She earned a score of 310.60 to place seventh in the one meter. She also earned a score of 292.10 for seventh place in the three meter, just a tenth of a point out of sixth place. Both scores qualified her for the SCIAC championships on Feb. 20-22. “My personal goal for this season was simply to learn how to dive. I didn’t think I would make it to championships, but I’m super excited that I did,” she said.

Price was a successful gymnast for 10 years but suffered too many injuries to continue pursuing it in college. She then decided to try diving. “I decided to dive because I’d heard of a lot of other gymnasts making the switch and it sounded like an exciting new challenge for me,” Price said.

She started practicing in September 2010. “Coach Kuhn was super enthusiastic when he heard that I wanted to try diving so that helped a lot too,” Price said.

Diving was already one of the reasons Price came to Occidental. Her inexperience led her to look at smaller schools to try out the sport. “I wouldn’t have been able to just start diving at a bigger college because their teams are way more selective, so this was the perfect opportunity for me,” she said.

Price is thrilled to compete and have a full list of 11 dives under her belt. “That is enough of an accomplishment for me for my first year of diving ever,” Price said. In addition, she received third place at a few meets earlier in the season and is planning on continuing to dive for Occidental during her remaining years in college. “There’s so much more for me to learn. I haven’t maxed out my abilities yet and I hope to continually improve,” Price said.

Sarah Sharpe

Sarah Sharpe (senior) qualified for nationals at the Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Diving Preliminaries hosted by Pomona-Pitzer the weekend of Feb. 12-13.

Sharpe earned a qualifying score in the one meter category. She placed first at the preliminaries with a score of 443.85, surpassing the minimum national qualifying score of 395. In addition, her score set a new SCIAC record, beating 426.15 which was scored by Claremont-Mudd-Scripps’ Pam Tanase in 1987. Her score also qualified her for the SCIAC championships on Feb. 20-22.

Sharpe first started diving at Santa Monica College as a first-year. She took a diving class there because she thought it would be a good opportunity to get back into the familiar area of gymnastics that she used to participate in when she was a child. Later on in the course, the college’s head coach asked her to join the team, and she continued to progress from there. “I fell in love with diving. It came naturally to me,” Sharpe said.

She dove for Santa Monica College for two years before she decided to transfer to Occidental as a junior. She was already taking classes at California State University Northridge but they did not have a division three diving team. “I wanted to keep diving so I found Oxy. It was close by, a great school and had a good diving team,” Sharpe said.

Her decision to attend Occidental has benefited her in more ways than just diving itself. She enjoys the trips she takes with her teammates to the meets, which provide an excellent time for bonding and having fun. “It’s always entertaining to hang out with my other teammates. Last year I did not feel as connected with the team, but this year is different,” Sharpe said.

With the support of her fellow members in the diving community, she wants to continue diving when she graduates from Occidental. “Master meets where adults compete and have fun would be a way for me to dive after college,” Sharpe said. Most importantly, the psychology major wants to complete a masters program in marriage and family therapy.

This article has been archived, for more requests please contact us via the support system.